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View Diary: Sorry I've Been Gone, But For Now I'm Back (More on the John Doe Probe and Voter Suppression) + More (78 comments)

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  •  For the Uninitiated (9+ / 0-)

    A bit of background on what's going on and things to consider about the John Doe (other than the fact that Walker can pardon himself on 03JAN2013):

    (posted at Cognitive Dissidence):

    In order to prove misconduct in public office (of the variety Wink/Rindfleisch did), you need to show that the staff was using their tax payer funded job to promote political operations. Rindfleisch was not convicted for using county IPs/servers, as the folks doing this knew that would be an obvious use of county property for illegal purposes. Instead, they set up a separate Wifi router in the county office which was isolated from the county internet. This allowed for network communications between both sets of staff to operate the campaign without the activities being tracked by the county IT folks.

    So, to back up a bit, Rindfleisch and Wink have been convicted for using their tax payer funded office to promote political activities (essentially the taxpayer paid somewhere north of $1M* to fund the various GOP campaigns). You can read the text of the law (946.12(3)) at the link below, btw.

    So,  about Walker...Yes, he wasn't sending the 1000s of emails and drafting up the campaign literature himself. And he certainly wasn't doing it during the work day. So, perhaps he is shielded? Well, I thought there may have been an argument for that prior to the new release of emails (if only a weak one). Well, now it is known that
    (1) Walker knew and condoned what Rindfleisch and Wink were doing (i.e. he condoned his staff to perform illegal activities). That's undeniable at this point. It is also known that (2) he was managing both his campaign staff and his EC staff during the tax payer funded work day.

    As to (1), since Walker knew and condoned what Wink & Rindfleisch were doing, with them later admitting that what they were doing was illegal, he's likely susceptible to being charged under WI Statute 939.31. That's conspiracy for us laymen. The fact that he was their boss is what really makes it hard to wave this one away.

    As to (2), even one email from Walker using his campaign email account during the work day would constitute a violation of 946.12(3). The fact that he, at least it seems, sent numerous emails directing his campaign staff during the time he was supposed to be working for the tax payer, makes it likely that he could be charged under the above statute.

    Now, those are the two most obvious statutes he could be charged under (INAL). However, he could potentially also be charged for destruction of public records. Since he and his staff sent emails concerning county business during county hours, any of those emails could potentially be considered public records. With those emails not cataloged by the county network, they'd not be saved and ultimately deleted by the campaign staff (or whomever). This action could fall under Statute 19.31-19.39.

    Heck, since county records are considered "library material", he (or his underlings) could be charged with 943.61 (destruction of library materials).

    I think you get the point that what Walker and his team were doing impacted a lot of things. Wisconsin is fortunate to have very strong laws against political figures using publicly financed time, space, and equipment to better themselves and affiliates. These laws can be overturned by a GOP majority, however.

    Links:

    946.12  Misconduct in public office
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

    943.40  Fraudulent destruction of certain writings
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

    943.61  Theft of library material.
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

    939.31  Conspiracy.
    http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

    These are just state laws. God knows what the Milwaukee County and Milwaukee city laws look like.

    I'd also like to reinforce this: Rindfleisch and Wink plead guilty. They agreed that what they did was illegal. If their boss knew what they were doing, knew they were doing it on the clock, and still allowed them to keep their jobs (not to mention if they were doing it to better the boss), the boss can be charged (I think they also call it racketeering).

    Details on the law definitions:

    Statute 19.32(2)
    "Record" means any material on which... printed...information is recorded or preserved...which has been created...by an authority."

    >Walker = Authority. His emails = material.

    Statute 19.37:
    (3) Punitive damages. If a court finds that an authority or legal custodian under s. 19.33 has arbitrarily and capriciously denied or delayed response to a request or charged excessive fees, the court may award punitive damages to the requester.

    >Hmmm...."send this to legal and have them draw it out....stop thinking like a lawyer and start thinking political..." (these are quotes from Walker's staffs' emails).

    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/...

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